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Not every campaign or issue needs a central event, but these often help to highlight your issue in a public way. Remember, the main purpose of the event is to advance your message.

CUPE members have organized everything from national television shows to street theatre to parades and information pickets. Pick something where you are fairly sure of succeeding. A modest news conference, with proper media relations work, can be an effective public event. A public announcement of a good deed, if properly promoted, is another possibility.

Its important not to bite off more than you can chew. A public event that bombs can demoralize your supporters and deflate your campaign. Poor attendance will also lose you points with the media.

Here are a few more thoughts:

  1. Be audio/visual. TV and radio need sights and sounds to make their reporting interesting.

  2. Be creative. Choose an event that will win over the public (e.g., live music, street theatre).

  3. Be organized. Give everyone a job and make sure its done.

  4. Consider giving something away, e.g., healthy eating charts.

  5. Dont overload the public with information. Stick to your message.

  6. Make sure you have enough handouts, signs, buttons, etc. (For help in ordering and designing these products, speak to CUPE Communications. Make sure everything is union-made!)

  7. If youre asking the public to do something, keep it easy and make it quick. They might not write a letter, but they might sign a petition or call a talk-back line.

  8. Dont have too many speakers at an event. It causes crowds to diminish and the media to lose interest. Make sure your speakers will be available for interviews and that they further your main message.

  9. Pick a member to be responsible for the media, helping set up interviews and providing background.

  10. If its a public protest, make sure the public knows. Posters, a banner on your web site and faxing your allies will help. Ask you allies to promote the event in other ways too: by e-mail and on their web sites.

  11. If its a strike or lockout rally, keep it positive. You want to promote your message, not conflict.

  12. Arrange for a good photograph capturing the essence of your event.

  13. Use the photo afterward to celebrate your success: in your newsletter, on your web site, in Organize magazine, etc.

  14. Be courteous and clean up afterwards, recycling as much waste as possible.